474 CUTTING AND CHIPPING OF GLASS [41*7
" He found also that other mineral bodies recently ground into the same form are also capable of cutting glass, although they cannot long retain the power, from want of the requisite hardness."
I suppose that no objection will be taken to Wollaston's general description of the action, but it may be worth while to consider it rather more closely in the light of mathematical solutions of related elastic problems by Boussinesq and Hertz; at the same time we may do well to remember Mr W. Taylor's saying that everything calculated by theorists is concerned with what happens within the elastic- limit of the material, and everything done in the workshop lies beyond that limit. A good account of these theoretical investigations will be found in Love's Elasticity, Chap. vm. It appears that when a pressure acts locally near a point on the plane surface of an elastic solid, the material situated along the axis is in a state of strain, which varies rapidly with the distance from the surface. The force transmitted across internal surfaces parallel to the external surface is a pressure all along, but the force transmitted in a perpendicular direction, although at first a pressure, at a very small distance below changes to a tension, which soon reaches a maximum and afterwards gradually diminishes. I suppose it is this tension which determines the crack, an action favoured by the longitudinal character of the pressure on the surface, and, once started, easily propagated as the diamond travels. Doubtless cutters of hardened steel discs, sharpened on the edge, act in a similar manner. ' It is possible that examination under the microscope by a skilled observer would throw light upon the matter. Among the questions which suggest themselves, one may ask whether the diamond cut necessarily involves a crushing at the surface, and what materials, besides glass, can be dealt with in this way. Would a bending force, such as is afterwards applied to separate the parts, facilitate the original formation of the crack?
The other matter in which I have been interested is the preparation of what I believe is called "chipped" glass. The only mention of it that I know is a casual one in Threlfall's Laboratory Arts. In an experiment tried some years ago, a glass plate was coated thickly with a warm solution of gelatine and allowed to dry on a levelling stand. Nothing particular happened afterwards for days or weeks; but eventually parts of the gelatine film lifted, carrying up with them material torn away from the glass. The plate is still in my possession, and there is now but little of the original glass surface left. If the process is in regular use, I should much like to know the precise procedure. It seems rather mysterious that a film of gelatine, scarcely thicker than thick paper, should be able to tear out fragments of-solid glass, but there is no doubt of the fact.
[1919. Interesting information in response to the above will be found in Engineering for March 11 and 16, and April 27, 1917.]ol. xxix. p. 128, 1874). I do not know the date of Thoulet's use of the solution, but suspect that it was subsequent to Sonstadt's.